32 arrested in Morristown drug ring bust

32 arrested in Morristown drug ring bust

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By WHITNEY HOLMES
6 News Anchor/Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) -- Thirty-two people are behind bars in Morristown after what law enforcement officials are saying is the breakup of one of the largest drug rings in East Tennessee.

Investigators say many of the suspects lived in Morristown for the sole purpose of running their crack cocaine operation.

Cocaine and money were being laundered from Mexico to Atlanta and then straight to Morristown, U.S. Attorney Russ Dedrick said.

Local, state and federal agencies were involved in the investigation and arrests. They credit their cooperation in busting the operation which led them from East Tennessee to Atlanta, Ga. to drug cartels in Mexico.

"We were able to get original individuals involved with the distribution of drugs, track down their sources of supply and fortunately able to go further than that into the border and into Mexico," said Dedrick.

Investigators say the ring's been running in the Morristown area since 2006 and has made millions of dollars in deals.

The FBI says drug trafficking can account for as much as 80 percent of crime in a community.

"We know that any time that we have a large scale of burglaries and larcenies, there is a pretty good chance that is tied back into drugs," said Morristown Police Chief Roger Overholt.

The 32 suspects have been indicted in federal court on charges ranging from firearms to money laundering and drug trafficking.

They're currently waiting to be transported to Greeneville to be arraigned.

This was the largest investigation for the FBI's drug task in Morristown, which was set up two years ago at the request of local authorities.

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